Category Archives: Review

PS4: Ratchet & Clank Review

Although over the past few years classic games have been remastered and remade like Square Enix’s reboot of Tomb Raider or a HD Twilight Princess, credit where it’s due, these remakes and revamps are doing relatively well, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Plus, who doesn’t like a bit of nostalgia.

Ratchet & Clank was one of the PlayStation 2’s most cherished, adventurous and outgoing 3D platformers in the early 2000s. It has been 14 years since Insomniac Games released the first Ratchet and Clank and they have ultimately outdone themselves in this remake – rebuilding the original from the ground up. Although they have reiterated their action-adventure formula with a dozen other Ratchet and Clank main titles and spin-offs from their 2009 release, A Crack in Time to their 2013 release Into The Nexus, this remake is a welcomed nostalgic reminder that the 3D platformer genre is undeniably lacking today.

The title has been released on the PS4 to accompany the upcoming film which hits theatres on April 29 (the game based on the film, based on the game – pretty ironic), however rather than a remastering it’s more of a re-imagining, giving old school fans more of a reason to come back and experience the title in current gen graphics with new twists in arsenal, story arcs and dialogue.

The game tells the story of an unlikely but lovable duo brought together by fate. Ratchet – a dare to be hero resides and works as a mechanic on the planet Veldin, where we find him daydreaming about adventure and ultimately joining the Galactic Rangers. Clank is a defective warbot who escapes the factory of his creation to warn the galaxy about the imminent warbot threat at the hands of Chairman Drek and Doctor Nefarious. The story is narrated by the harmless yet egotistical Captain Qwark, who dictates the story to a new inmate in the confines of a space prison. This interesting change of events reveals Captain Qwark’s betrayal from the get go as opposed to the original where players don’t find out until the end.

The cut scenes throughout are very Pixar-esque, which isn’t too surprising considering the game is meant to tie into the movie. Although the game doesn’t run at 60fps, there are rarely ever any frame drops considering the screen is constantly bursting with hordes of AI, explosions,  and my personal favourite the volcanic barrage of nuts and bolts after swiping the area clean to have all the loot magnetized towards you so seamlessly.

Vibrant visuals and lively landscapes throughout the game are some of the most impressive graphical achievements to date on the PS4. Jetting around to familiar planets like Novalis and Pokitaru, I simultaneously felt nostalgic but also a sense of curiosity as some elements of the game were completely new when it came to various plot points, terrains and planets.

Ratchet & Clank’s combat in conjunction with it’s range of Gadgetron weaponry is some of the most addictive and satisfying mechanics in a more recent PS4 title. It seamlessly encourages players to experiment with a whole range of weapons that were not only in the first game but a variety of the games throughout the series. Ratchet’s OmniWrench 8000 is undeniably one of the most deadliest and iconic weapons, coupled with various long ranged firearms that have an intricate progression system and a talent tree in-place, which makes going up against enemy AI a well rounded, rewarding experience. For instance, the Groovitron makes enemies of all kinds, even bosses, have their own unique set of dance moves, whilst a newer edition to Ratchet’s arsenal the Pixelizer, widely praised for its creativity, is a blaster that converts enemies from 3D into pixelated 8-bit designs. A personal favourite of mine is the Glove of Doom which unleashes a frenzy of small kamikaze robots that explode on impact (really useful for attacking hard to reach blargg enemies protected by stationed turrets).

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Journey Remastered Review

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Journey as a physical, 1. Act of travelling from one place to another in conjunction with the metaphorical stance of 1.1 A long and often difficult process of personal change and development. Both of those definitions are exactly what Journey the game is all about.

Back in March of 2012, the mysterious Journey had been released for the PS3 and it was a breathtaking and moving game. Fast-forward three years to July 2015 and this masterpiece journeyed its way onto the PlayStation 4 and it is just as emotional and vibrant as ever.

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Developer Thatgamecompany in this new rendition of Journey gave it a fully fledged ‘remastered’ treatment with an increased 1080p resolution and 60fps.

Fans of the game have expressed how thought provoking and emotional Journey was for them, even though the main protagonist is nameless and speechless, players at the conclusion of this game were left emotional, pondering and definitely wanting more. Journey is a game which you wish you could experience for the first time, over and over again. In saying that however, during various correspondents with fans of the game, players mentioned that Journey is one of those games that improves with each play-run and doesn’t grow old no matter how many times they played it.

The remarkable nature of this game is the fact that regardless of how long ago it was released, people are still going back to experience the short but meaningful story. The game’s theme of death and rebirth leaves players in a stasis of sorrow. Accompanied with composer Austin Wintory’s original musical score (which gave me goosebumps too many times to count), and the game’s vibrant colour pallets, the visual diversity of glittering gold desserts, violent snowy mountain terrains and a flow of underwater atmospheres – Journey is a poetically emotional adventure game you shouldn’t miss out on.

Only three hours in game-play length, Journey is an enlightening and emotional experience. The game starts off without any particular context as it throws players into the third-person perspective of a red-hooded figure. The only straightforward objective is the recurring image of a distant mountain with a mysterious bright yellow light stemming from the mountains peak.

The game play itself largely consists of walking, gliding and sliding throughout various vibrant and harsh terrains such as sand-dunes in the early stages of the game. One particularly illuminating element of the game itself was finding scarf pieces which could be found in various nook and crannies in most levels. This was a surprisingly fulfilling aspect of the game as players watch their scarf grow, it became a symbolic element of your protagonists travels and the progressive milestones in their journey.

Journey also offers hieroglyph-like murals in all stages of the pilgrimage which attempts to shine a light on the cataclysmic backstory for which the protagonist has found themselves at the center of.

The story although remaining somewhat of a mystery and undeniably open to interpretation throughout and also at the games conclusion, one can assume that your protagonist is what’s left in this post-apocalypse world and is attempting to reach the mountain with the mysterious glow to perhaps reach enlightenment and ascension to the next life?

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The multiplayer in Journey is random and automatic as you can only be matched up with one other player in your instance of the game. There is no solid form of communication or dialogue in the duration of the game, aside from pressing the “O” button which makes your character exclaim an indistinguishable sound, which is surprisingly expressive. The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is definitely what this game has going for it.

Whilst playing the game myself, I had various anonymous companions join my games instance where some players led me to scarf pieces, hieroglyphs and intense moments of meditation. The anonymous companions when huddled up close to you, allow for a regeneration of your magical scarf (which allows you to fly/glide).

Conclusion

Journey is hands down a spectacular experience, especially if you are interested in being emotionally invested in a video game or you want a nice change of pace from the repetitive campaign, multi-player games. Journey is a game which takes you from point A to point B, and the events which occur in-between weaves together a compound of mystery and beauty, with thought provoking emotional tales to tell. Although the game is undeniably short and perhaps slow paced, Journey makes sure every minute is worth the penny and play.

9/10

 

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